Series Preview: Seattle Mariners vs. San Diego Padres

The good news is that the Mariners were able to maintain their slim two-game lead in the American League West through no fault of their own. Thanks to the Twins, the Astros’ climb back up the standings was somewhat slowed last weekend. The bad news is that the M’s weren’t able to take advantage of Houston’s setback. They suffered what was probably their worst loss of the season on Sunday, and all of a sudden, the Rangers are climbing back up the standings with a four-game winning streak. The Mariners desperately need some kind of spark to maintain their lead in the standings, and maybe this trip to California will be just the thing.

In one look

Seamen Fathers
Seamen Fathers
Game 1 Tuesday July 9 | 6:40 p.m.
RHP Logan Gilbert Right-handed pitcher Adam Mazur
54% 46%
Game 2 Wednesday July 10 | 3:40 p.m.
Right-handed relief pitcher Bryce Miller Relief pitcher Michael King
44% 56%

*Game odds courtesy of FanGraphs

Team presentation

Preview Fathers Seamen Edge
Preview Fathers Seamen Edge
Beating (wRC+) 114 (2nd in the Netherlands) 93 (12th in American League) Fathers
Commissioning (FRV) -8 (9th) 2 (9th) Seamen
Starting pitcher (FIP-) 102 (8th) 92 (3rd) Seamen
Bullpen (FIP-) 97 (8th) 95 (5th) Seamen

Awkwardly positioned as “natural rivals” by MLB schedule makers, the Mariners and Padres have faced off in a split home-and-home series nearly every season since 2015 — the pandemic-shortened 2020 and 2021, the last season with an unbalanced schedule, were the two exceptions. Overall, Seattle wins the Vedder Cup 65-62 and has won the season series the past two years.

After overcoming their lengthy rebuilding cycle by making the playoffs in 2020, the Padres have unfortunately made just one more playoff appearance, reaching the NLCS in 2022. That’s despite plenty of investment from ownership and aggressive trades from the PBO and GM AJ Preller. They’ve already made some bold moves this year, acquiring Dylan Cease just before the season began and then adding Luis Arraez in May. They’re currently in the midst of a crowded NL Wild Card race and have been playing solid baseball since a slow start to the season in April.

Composition of the Padres

Player Position Bats Pennsylvania K% BB% ISO wRC+
Player Position Bats Pennsylvania K% BB% ISO wRC+
Luis Arraez 1B L 400 5.8% 3.8% 0.069 110
Jurickson Profar LF S 372 15.1% 12.4% 0.183 163
Jake Cronenworth 2B L 381 17.1% 7.6% 0.171 121
Manny Machado 3B R 356 21.1% 7.0% 0.152 110
Donovan Solano DH R 170 19.4% 7.1% 0.117 120
Jackson Merrill CF L 331 16.9% 4.5% 0.163 122
David Peralta RF L 81 19.8% 7.4% 0.082 87
Ha Seong Kim SS R 364 15.7% 12.9% 0.155 108
Kyle Higashioka VS R 119 31.1% 4.2% 0.307 119

The Padres are currently without their second-best hitter, as Fernando Tatis Jr. has been out since late June with a leg injury. It’s absolutely crazy to say that Tatis isn’t San Diego’s best hitter, but Jurickson Profar is in the midst of a truly incredible season. Nearly all of his batted ball performances have improved dramatically, and he has the seventh-best wRC+ among qualified hitters. With Tatis out, Jackson Merrill has done a lot to compensate. Drafted as a shortstop, the 21-year-old rookie was sent to center field this spring and has started the year slowly as he adjusts to big league pitching. And a new position. Since the beginning of June, he has a 160 wRC+ with nine home runs.

Probable launchers

Stuff+ Update Explanation

Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

Right-handed pitcher Adam Mazur

Intellectual property K% BB% % FC/FC GB% TIME FIP
Intellectual property K% BB% % FC/FC GB% TIME FIP
26 1/3 12.3% 13.9% 7.7% 34.4% 7.52 5.45
Not Frequency Speed Tips+ Breath+ BIP+ xwOBA
Four seams 41.0% 94.7 78 52 104 0.423
Lead 3.1% 93.8
Gear switch 10.7% 90.0 84
Curve 12.0% 80.5 108
Slide 33.3% 86.8 126 80 98 0.220

The Padres’ severely depleted starting rotation, plus injuries, forced them to recall Adam Mazur in early June; the Cease trade left him as the most major-league-ready pitching prospect in the San Diego organization. He was a second-round college pick in the 2022 draft, giving him a leg up on some of the less-developed prospects in the system, and a stellar minor-league season last year also elevated his status. He earned minuscule walk rates in the minors but has resorted to chipping around the zone in the big leagues, leading to a huge increase in free passes. His slider appears to be an above-average offering, but the rest of his repertoire leaves a lot to be desired.

Relief pitcher Michael King

Intellectual property K% BB% % FC/FC GB% TIME FIP
Intellectual property K% BB% % FC/FC GB% TIME FIP
105 27.0% 9.2% 12.8% 38.6% 3.51 3.85
Not Frequency Speed Tips+ Breath+ BIP+ xwOBA
Four seams 25.4% 93.5 83 97 94 0.355
Lead 25.9% 92.7 86 122 102 0.335
Gear switch 24.5% 86.5 89 115 129 0.256
Slide 5.2% 86.2 125 71 76 0.436
Sweeper 19.0% 81.8 125 94 91 0.265

Michael King was one of the star pitchers who joined the Padres in the Juan Soto trade last December. He transitioned from a bullpen role to a starting pitcher last summer and provided nine phenomenal starts for the Yankees late in the season. He continued to be a starter for San Diego and has been a solid pitcher for them this year. Adding a sweeper to his arsenal a few years ago helped push his strikeout rates well above league average and an improved changeup has given him the deep repertoire to thrive in longer outings.

The big picture:

Western League Standings

Team WL %P Games behind Recent form
Team WL %P Games behind Recent form
Seamen 48-43 0.533 LWWLL
Astros 46-44 0.511 2.0 WWWLL
Rangers 43-48 0.473 5.5 LWWWW
angels 37-53 0.411 11.0 LLWLL
Athletics 34-58 0.370 15.0 WWLWL

American League Leaders and Wild Card Rankings

American League leaders WL %P Games behind Recent form
American League leaders WL %P Games behind Recent form
Orioles 57-33 0.633 WLWLW
Guardians 56-33 0.629 WELCOME
Seamen 48-43 0.533 LWWLL
AL Wild Card WL %P Games behind Recent form
Yankees 55-37 0.598 +4.5 LLLWL
Twins 52-39 0.571 +2.0 Wow…
Red Sox 49-40 0.551 WWWLW
The Royals 49-43 0.533 1.5 WLLLW
Astros 46-44 0.511 3.5 WWWLL

As mentioned above, the Astros lost their dramatic weekend series to the Twins. Seven batters were hit by pitches in the series, and while none of the injuries appeared serious, there was certainly no love lost between these two teams. Houston returns home this week to host the Marlins for three games. The Rangers have suddenly jumped up the standings with a sweep of the Rays last weekend and a win over the Angels in their series opener in Anaheim yesterday. The two Texas teams are headed into a huge showdown this weekend.

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